Triple Crown 2010: Can the Transatlantic Alliance be Strategic?
October 21, 2010
Author: Marc Grossman, Former Fellow, The Future of Diplomacy Project
Belfer Center Programs or Projects: The Future of Diplomacy Project
Former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Future of Diplomacy Project Senior Fellow and Atlantic Council Board Director Marc Grossman encourages the Obama Administration to view the bureaucratic challenge of managing the upcoming NATO, U.S.-EU and OSCE summits as an opportunity to create a more coherent, strategic transatlantic relationship that maximizes the capabilities of all three organizations.
“While the world is certainly a different, more complicated place than it was in 1999, the Obama Administration might also find it useful to design a strategy that creates a coherent approach toward the President’s involvement in the NATO, U.S.-EU, and OSCE summits.”
In his brief, Grossman reflects on how in 1999 the Clinton Administration developed a ‘Triple Crown’ strategy for U.S. policy towards Europe through NATO, the U.S.-EU relationship, and the OSCE and suggests that the Obama Administration might consider a similar approach for Europe today.
Grossman outlines the changes that have taken place within NATO, the EU, and the OSCE since 1999 and proposes a coherent strategy for U.S. engagement with Europe through all three institutions. Grossman encourages NATO to address new threats such as energy and homeland security, urges Europe to emerge as a strategic actor equivalent to its economic clout, and calls on the United States to respond to Russian President Medvedev’s calls for a new European security treaty with a plan to modernize and strengthen the OSCE.
This brief is part of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Task Force, which seeks to provide thought leadership on a transatlantic strategy for Central Asia.
A test of global leadership in the twenty-first century will be how nation states perform in the face of threats that defy borders. As the Brookings Institution’s report Managing Global Insecurity concluded in 2008, a “new approach is needed to revitalize the alliances, diplomacy and international institutions central to the inseparable relationship between national and global security.
A year earlier, the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Commission on Smart Power described the options the United States has in responding to global challenges:
• proceed unilaterally;
• assemble ad hoc coalitions; and
• work through treaties, alliances and multilateral organizations.
American administrations in the early twenty-first century will need to make the right choice among these three possibilities in order to meet the specific task at hand. For example, although the United States should always look first for partners, there will be times when America will need to act alone, including militarily. In some cases, acting with others will be best done through ad hoc coalitions; the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and the informal organization of the international response to the southeast Asia tsunami in 2004 are both examples of how coalitions of the willing constitute the best course of action. And American administrations will often seek to galvanize multilateral organizations into action. Some of these organizations will be global, such as the United Nations, and others regional, including NATO, the European Union, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the African Union (AU), the Organization of American States (OAS) or the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The focus in this brief is on U.S. policy towards three organizations that are the foundation of America’s political, economic, social and moral connections to wider Europe: NATO, the EU and the OSCE.
- Grossman-Triple Crown.pdf (217K PDF)
For more information about this publication please contact the Allan Friedman.
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